Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy David W. March was shot and killed Monday morning, April 29, in Irwindale after pulling over a stolen vehicle.
March, who was working the unincorporated area of Irwindale, was investigating a reported stolen car when he spotted it at a busy intersection. After pulling the car over, the driver got out and met him halfway between the patrol car and stolen vehicle and a struggle ensued. “The driver pulled a weapon and shot March several times point blank,” Sheriff Lee Baca reported. The assailant and two others in the car sped off after the shooting.
A truck driver from a nearby concrete plant heard the shots and ran to March’s patrol car, grabbed the radio mike and broadcast: “A deputy’s been shot!” Patrol cars responded quickly. One of the arriving officers gave March mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Baca said.
The man suspected of being the deputy’s killer, 25-year-old Armando Garcia, remains at large, authorities stated. He was described as Latino, about 5-foot-7, with short dark hair and a mustache.
The Grace Baptist Church outdoor amphitheater in Saugus was the setting for the final farewell to March on May 4. Thousands gathered for the funeral service including family members, friends and fellow law enforcement officers.
Sheriff Baca eulogized March, a veteran of seven years, as a trusting, honest man who had no fear – a man of faith who believed in others. “Dave was willing to nobly put his life on the line with style and grace and determination,” Baca said. “He did it in a way that has made all of us proud. All the men and women in the sheriff’s department have lost a good friend. We’ve lost a great protector. A protector of life. A protector of human spirit.”
Capt. Roberta Abner, the Temple sheriff’s station commander, shared an e-mail with the mourners that March had written about a week before the incident as a follow-up to an evaluation.
“I feel that I give a full day’s work when I’m here,” March wrote. “My contacts with the public I feel are positive. Most of all I feel I have learned to enjoy what I am doing.
“My goals are simple,” he added. “I will always be painfully honest, work as hard as I can, learn as much as I can and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives.”
Abner added that March had received various commendations for his work – including quick response time, attention to duty, arrests and his willingness to assist members of the community. “He demonstrated outstanding strengths, not only in aggressively and actively pursuing and apprehending criminals, but in serving the community to the best of his ability, with understanding and empathy for their situation,” Abner said.
Abner continued, “He was viewed by his supervisors and peers alike as a good street cop, a compliment of the highest degree in this profession. In one horrific moment, our comrade, friend and hero was brutally murdered. That Monday morning will be forever etched in our hearts and minds.”
March’s sister, Erin Hildreth, said “It’s just kind of unbelievable to me right now. We always thought of him as invincible.”
Thom Lindsey, March’s brother-in-law, told the audience, “Just being around him was inspiring. He made people want to be better. He will forever be a hero.”
March, who grew up in Santa Clarita Valley, played football and baseball for Canyon High School from which he graduated in 1988. He worked at Magic Mountain as a security guard and joined the Marine Corps before entering the Sheriff’s Academy in 1996. Although he was still assigned to the Temple City Sheriff’s station, he was scheduled to be transferred to the Santa Clarita station in May.
March, 33, is survived by his wife of five years, Teresa Lee; 13-year-old stepdaughter, Kayla French; parents, John and Barbara March; sister, Erin Hildreth; and brother, John.
A fund has been established to support the March family in this time of need. Please make checks payable to the Sheriff’s Relief Fund #257, c/o Sheriff’s Relief Association, 11515 South Colima Road, Whittier, CA 90604.